Right in the centre - Being thankful again


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

We need to be thankful for this year, the crops, the low number of COVID-19 cases, the value of community. I know this column may look familiar, as it is much the same as last year’s. It expresses my (our) thankfulness and shows the value of values. It bears repeating. Whether you remember the words from last year or if it’s new to you this year, I hope this piece blesses you in what can be tough times.

Our wedding (51 years ago) was a pretty low key event. There was no fundraising social, not a huge guest list and the honeymoon consisted of a drive through the Assiniboine Valley, enjoying what was left of the fall colours and checking out an old stone church. We were both attending university and had to get back to Winnipeg to be in class on Tuesday morning. In contrast to many weddings today, some would call it pretty dull. It was definitely less expensive. But the marriage has lasted, through good times and tough times.

Christine says when today’s marriages fall apart, it is largely due to unrealistic expectations. I think she had low expectations about me and I was able to fulfil them– barely! But she is correct, people have unrealistic expectations. Maybe we didn’t set our goals high enough. We have never had a new home, except a new mobile home we moved onto our farm east of Arden. We have almost always taken older homes and fixed them up. At last count, it has been 11 different places we have lived, three rented and eight owned. Seven of the owned places have been older places and our current home was built in the early 1900s. It’s still not finished and maybe never will be.

Today’s young couples, starting out in life, have been fed a line of nonsense about married life. From observing our parents’ marriages, we both knew that married couples don’t always agree. We willingly carried on that tradition. We argue and discuss and sometimes get angry. I may be accused of being cynical here, but if you love someone and care enough, you will fight at times.

Today’s generation, and the past couple of generations, have also swallowed the idea that you have to have a big honeymoon, a new home, a new car, the best of entertainment units and the newest cell phone. All that is well and good and it usually comes with a big personal debt load.

I won’t say that the younger generation doesn’t know how to work, because many of them work very hard. While some have no idea what hard work is, many do. We worked hard, and still do, but compared to our parents, we had it a bit easier, for sure. Again, it’s about expectations. I would say one word of criticism about today’s workplace and that is many people today tend to shave the clock a fair bit. Very few people who aren’t self employed put in 40 hour weeks. Some do, but a full day is now expected to be 9 to noon and 1 to 5 and that only comes to 35 hours per week. There are 24 hours in a day. If you only work seven, it begs the question, what are you doing with the other 17 on week days and the 48 on the weekend? Truth be known, a lot of our hours today are badly invested in TV, computers and cell phones. Few businesses, and no marriages, are made better by the countless hours we spend glued to electronics.

Our 51 years of marriage has produced two sons that resulted in four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. It also resulted in us deepening our faith in God, our appreciation of Christ our Saviour, us having hundreds of friends and acquaintances and last, and maybe least, our business and political life. We have invested over 50 years, and countless dollars, into family, farming, auctioneering, running for political office and building a tiny publishing empire. We still invest in those things every day, well past “retirement” age.

Thank you all, with special thanks to Christine, for making the last five decades what it has been. It’s been mostly good, and the rest we learned from. How much more time we have on earth, only God knows. The past and the future can only be summed up as, “To God be the glory…”

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.